Bilbao rally to beat Osasuna

Athletic Bilbao boost chances of securing Europa League spot with dramatic 2-1 win over Osasuna in Primera Division.

    In the day's late game, Espanyol were held 2-2 at home by Atletico Madrid [EPA]

    A 90th-minute goal by teenager Iker Muniain gave 10-man Athletic Bilbao a late win at Osasuna on Sunday, in Spain's Primera Division.

    The 18-year-old winger capitalised on a defensive error to volley home the deciding goal from distance as Bilbao moved two points above Sevilla into fifth place in the league, and closer to European qualification.

    Osasuna went ahead in the 51st at Reyno de Navarra stadium when striker Enrique Sola scored from inside the box.

    Fernando Llorente had equalised for Bilbao in the 70th minute and the game looked all but drawn until Muniain fired into an empty net when goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez gifted the young forward the ball outside the area.

    Bilbao's other direct rivals for a Europa League berth, holders Atletico Madrid and Espanyol, drew 2-2 in Barcelona and are seventh and eighth respectively with six games left.

    Elsewhere Levante held on to beat Hercules 2-1, Real Sociedad beat Sporting Gijon 2-1, and Deportivo La Coruna downed Racing Santander 2-0.

    Red card

    Osasuna, two points above the relegation zone, had taken the lead through Sola and Bilbao were reduced to 10 men on 58 minutes when Xavi Castillo was given his marching orders for a second yellow card.

    However, Spanish international forward Llorente scored his 16th league goal of the season with a header on 69 minutes to equalise and Muniain, who holds the record of being the youngest player to score in the Spanish top-flight, floated in a sensational winner in the final minute after Lopez made a mess of a clearance.

    "We only had two scoring opportunities and we were 100 percent efficient in converting them,'' Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros said.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday April 16

     Getafe 1-0 Sevilla
     Malaga 3-0 Mallorca
     Almeria 0-3 Valencia
     Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona

    Sunday April 17

     Deportivo 2-0 Racing
     Levante 2-1 Hercules
     Sociedad 2-1 Gijon
     Osasuna 1-2 Ath Bilbao
     Espanyol 2-2 Atl Madrid

    Monday April 18

     Villarreal v Real Zaragoza

    "We showed our desire (to win) with 10 men. The team has spirit and demonstrated it on the pitch.''

    Earlier on Sunday, Levante scored twice before halftime to beat Hercules 2-1 continuing the team's excellent second half of the season.

    Forward Ruben Suarez put the hosts ahead at Ciutat de Valencia stadium, curling a free kick into the top corner of the net in the sixth minute. Juan Luis Gomez rifled in a pass from Valmiro Lopes to make it 2-0 in the 43rd.

    Hercules striker David Trezeguet pulled one back in the 82nd for his 11th goal of the season, but Levante goalkeeper Gustavo Munua protected Levante's advantage with a pair of late saves for their eighth win in 12 weeks.

    "With 42 points we are almost mathematically safe, but there are still games to play,'' said Ruben, whose team climbed to within three points of the Europa League positions.

    Hercules' first loss under coach Miroslav Djukic left them three points from safety with six rounds to play.

    Also, 20-year-old French winger Antoine Griezmann scored twice to earn Real Sociedad their first win in eight weeks, beating Sporting Gijon 2-1.

    Deportivo La Coruna beat Racing Santander 2-0 with goals by Lassad Nouioui and ex-Newcastle striker Francisco Jimenez. 

    Barcelona drew 1-1 at Real Madrid on Saturday to stay eight points atop the table, while third-place Valencia moved nine points clear of Villarreal through their 3-0 win over last-place Almeria.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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